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View Full Version : Children who WONT go on rides


EmmMOM2
05-17-2008, 01:37 PM
MY 4 yr old soon has been to some amusement parks latley and refuses to go on anything and wehn you ask why he gets all whinny. I guess its just the age, but we're wondering if we should even bother taking him with us on our disney trip this year, as we dont want to spend all that money and then have him not participating.
Anyone ever have this problem with a 4 yr old. Should we wait until he's 5?
We took him last when he was 17 months old and he LOVED it..

Mousemates
05-17-2008, 02:47 PM
All any of us can really do on something like this is give anecdotal advice based on our own children or "the elusive average child." (And of course thats not helpful since the children of intercot --like those of Lake Wobegone--are all above average). No one knows your child like you do. So, I'd essentially say go with your gut on this one.

However, having said that...when we took an apprehensive child with us, and she saw all the others kids getting on, she quickly followed suit. Just make sure your first ride is oober tame and completely non-scary (i.e something like its a small world or winnie the pooh).

HndrdPrcnt
05-17-2008, 03:47 PM
Another thing to consider is that Disney is aware of situations like this and for that reason has the Child Swap program. You can stand in line for the attraction and when you get to the front, let the CM know that you want to do "Child Swap". They will give you a pass that you can give to your spouse as you exit and then they can go straight to the FastPass line or exit to enjoy the ride themself. It is a good program, though I am not sure if it is available on all attractions. It also enables you to make the trip to WDW and everyone can enjoy it!!:thumbsup:

JMTStone
05-17-2008, 04:45 PM
I agree with the Child Swap advice. I also want to say that there is so much to do at the world besides rides...shows, parades, fireworks, characters...

Tinksmom
05-17-2008, 10:00 PM
I think it is also help to familiarize your child with as much of what to expect as you can. Play theme park music in the car or from the internet at home like from a site such as "RADIO number of days in a year dot com". Also check out ride videos on the popular site for sharing videos.
At 4, it's also good to set up certain rides as a reward, instead of making the ride the challenge. I told my DD who was 4 on our last trip if she didn't whine on the drive down she could ride ToT. Well of course a child is not going to turn down a "prize".
Good luck!!!

Friend of Figment
05-18-2008, 01:43 AM
If the money part is going to stress you out, I'd wait. I've seen an awful lot of parents telling a child in mid-meltdown "This is expensive and you will start having fun now!" If you can envision those words coming from your mouth then wait.

On the other hand, if you think that there are many things he will enjoy even if he doesn't do a lot of rides, then go for it.

I'm not a parent, but It seems to me that one of the pleasures of going with children over time would be seeing their different reactions. At 4 he might not do alot of rides, but he may be really into Mickey's house or something.

Either way - good luck.

Mickey91
05-18-2008, 10:04 AM
Thinking about other theme parks, most of them do not have family rides. There are rides for little kids, rides for adults and rides that you can get on together but are still a little scary. Very few are like DisneyWorld.

I would go and do Small World first, then Buzz Lightyear, the TTA, WDW RR, Pooh, CoP and then move up to Peter Pan ("flying" can be scary for a little one), Dumbo, etc. The monorail and fairyboat are fun. Figment and Nemo. He will probably love the animals at AK but maybe not the Safari ride. You can do the child swap for the ones that are definitely too scary. I say go for it!

kathiep
05-18-2008, 10:27 AM
Definately take him. There is so much more to experience than just the rides.

And when you get there, start with the tame rides that you can go on together. The carousel or iasw or Winnie the Pooh. I'd try to avoid anything too fast or frightening like Snow White or Peter Pan. He'll probably warm up after a while.

If not, there's always child swap.

crltkcagle
05-18-2008, 10:30 AM
There is so much more to wdw than rides. I would definetly take him! If he is scared of the larger rides there are always things like Nemo, Winnie the pooh, peter pan and its a small world. Those rides are very tame and smaller children love them!

mouseketeer mom
05-18-2008, 10:37 AM
We had that trouble a few years back. My son and my daughter would "take turns" being afraid and refusing to go on some rides. I won't lie. I was bothered by it because I had this idea we would all experience these cool rides together, as a family and when they were upset about the rides, I got upset too.:blush: No..I wasn't one of those parents that forced my child or made a scene, or tried to get them on the rides, I just felt upset. We did do the swap, but it took alot of extra time out of our day, and it was not as much fun as having my husband and all of my kids right next to me. Aaaah. One thing is for certain. You can't predict how any child may do. WDW is so good at what they do, sometimes its hard for a child to tell what is real and what is not. I would go for the trip knowing your child might not want to go on the rides, and then he might surprise you!! All of my kids grew out of their fears and now look back and can't believe they were actually afraid of the some rides that they were afraid of!

DizneyRox
05-18-2008, 11:58 AM
Save the money on the tickets and food and hire in room sitters while you enjoy the parks... :D

Goofy Texan
05-18-2008, 11:16 PM
I suggest you sit him down at the kitchen table and tell him he can go play as soon as he tells you why he's afraid. You can explain that you need to really know the answer so that you only take him on Disney rides that he'll like. After that just wait. Don't say anything. Ignore the whining, and wait. Eventually he'll realize the old ploy no longer works and he'll blurt out an answer. And, armed with the right info, you can decide how to best handle things.

Note: This ploy works with young kids, older kids, teens, and even adults. I first learned it in a book on employee management techniques!

Mousemates
05-18-2008, 11:34 PM
I suggest you sit him down at the kitchen table and tell him he can go play as soon as he tells you why he's afraid..... Don't say anything. Ignore the whining, and wait. Eventually he'll realize the old ploy no longer works and he'll blurt out an answer. ---goofytexan

I like your approach and would gladly read your newsletter. :mickey:

AXOAlum
05-19-2008, 11:44 AM
You Tube is a great resource! When we were planning our second trip with DS (then 2 yo) we realized that rides would be much different for him than his first trip at 8 mos. We watched as many ride videos on You Tube as we could find. He especially LOVED the Haunted Mansion video and the "doooooom buuuuuggies" which he would repeat over and over in his "creepy" voice. When we arrived and were waiting in line, you wouldn't believe the ugly stares and rude comments made to us by others such as "you know this ISN'T a ride for children, right?" and the like (love that everyone else knows how best to parent my child :confused: ) But it was hilarious to watch him instead run around and scare people (including the host at the door - we were hysterical!) So he was very well prepared for the ride and others and was so excited to get to see them "in real life" and not on the computer screen.

So - use You Tube and hopefully it will help him to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of on the dark rides.

KAT1811
05-19-2008, 12:24 PM
Definately take him. There is so much more to experience than just the rides.

:ditto: The parades, shows, and characters are still tons of fun for children. Maybe starting with something he can see in its totality will help ease his fear, eliminating the element of surprise. Dumbo, Flying Carpets.

When we went to "other" amusement parks with our oldest when she was younger (we have 3 DDs) she would not get on the rides because many of them were for her only, not big enough for an adult to ride. We have never had any trouble with any of our children in WDW, any aprehension they may have felt is quelled by either DH or myself holding them tight or even on our lap. By the end of the ride they are usually running to do it again. On the rare occasion they did not like a ride we simply move on and say they do not have to ride it again. [The only one I can recall is Star Tours when I took DD #2 on it while it was not in motion(she was 2 1/2 at the time), she was not crazy about it and said she did not want to go again. No problem, we moved on. I have no fear that she will be ready to try it again on our next trip.]

I suggest you sit him down at the kitchen table and tell him he can go play as soon as he tells you why he's afraid. You can explain that you need to really know the answer so that you only take him on Disney rides that he'll like. After that just wait. Don't say anything. Ignore the whining, and wait. Eventually he'll realize the old ploy no longer works and he'll blurt out an answer. And, armed with the right info, you can decide how to best handle things.


:cop: Just my opinion here . . . :cop:

This may work with some children, adults, and the like but. . . I would be very careful not to make too much of it. The more attention you draw to it the more complex the issue becomes. Some children need to work through their fears in their own way and it can often be difficult for adults to comprehend and understand those fears. I would never force my children to explain their feelings to me, when they are ready and able they will confide in you. IMHO if you force them you are closing the door of communication making his fears only acceptable on your terms. Remember he is only 4.

I agree with the poster that recommends watching videos of certain rides, this is probably the most effective way to introduce attractions to him and ease his fears. In the end if he is still afraid then you will have to adjust your plans accordingly, IMHO that is just another part of parenting. There are nights that I would like to fine dine and my children are not up for anything more than a chain restaurant, when that happens we adjust our plan accordingly, when you're a parent it happens.

They have a guidebook to WDW for kids by kids. Maybe spending some time reading this with him will also help ease his fears.

Again, only you know your child so you will have to do what you feel is right for your family.

bigbabyblues
05-19-2008, 03:41 PM
4-yo's can be that way, I have one! hey're still little, and they're still afraid of things. There isn't always a reason, it's just the way they are.

However, I would not go and just leave him at home, how would that make him feel ? (no flames intended, just my opinion). Let him go to one of the kids clubs for a few hours while the adults go and enjoy the rides, or do the child swap. There is so much more he can do than just the big rides, those are only a small part of what WDW offers. I'm thinking Space (neither of my boys will ride that, DH rides alone), Splash, Test Track (that one's fun, does he like cars??), MS (he might not be tall enough, isn't it still 48-inches?), EE, ToT, and RnRC. I wouldn't postpone the trip either, just go and enjoy yourself and let everyone do their thing.

My now 7-yo is afraid of most of the bigger rides, and it's ok. I just wait with him, or DH does, it's no big deal, and it certainly doesn't ruin the trip.

Good luck! Maybe he'll change before your trip, you never know. I wouldn't make him feel that he's being punished for being afraid though, that's not fair to him. We have used bribery a couple of times with DS7....he got a light spinner for riding PoC, and something for riding Splash last year.....

Jasper
05-19-2008, 04:22 PM
4 year olds can be wonderful one minute and difficult the next!

I would suggest going ahead and taking him and concentrating on the shows and things like Small World that don't seem so much like a ride. I suspect there may also be some fear factor because typical "rides" at other parks are not themed as well so the kids literally see the nuts and bolts of a ride so it scares them. At Disney World they enter a building for many "rides" and see some type of ongoing story that culminates in the actual "ride". I suspect that in that kind of setting and with you at his side he is likely to go on that ride. Also, not calling it a ride but instead saying we are going here to see a show sometimes helps.

Good Luck

Flower
05-19-2008, 05:18 PM
Our 4 year old LOVES Disney and even though there are some things he won't go on, we still take him ( Wussy kid won't go on Goofy's Barnstormer but loves the Crazy Train [BTMRR}).

Anyway, go and enjoy the many other perks of Disney, take advantage of the baby swap, and don't force him to go on anything he does not want to.

Take breaks! Sometimes Brandon just needs time away from rides and lines, we let him run around in the playgrounds, and keep hydrated - what better opportunity for an ice cream break than at Disney!

I honestly don't think 4 is too old to take to the Baby Care centers if you need some downtime - the air conditioning and movies are a great place to take a much needed breather.

NJGIRL
05-19-2008, 05:47 PM
If the money part is going to stress you out, I'd wait. I've seen an awful lot of parents telling a child in mid-meltdown "This is expensive and you will start having fun now!" If you can envision those words coming from your mouth then wait.



I agree with this. The fact that you are even thinking about canceling tells me that you think there is a good chance he won't enjoy himself.
When children have fears they are real to them even tough they seem foolish to adults. At that age I wouldn't force something like amusement rides on a child that doesn't want to do them.

Texas Tinkerbell Too
05-19-2008, 08:08 PM
When we went last year, my DS4 went on rides we thought he would never ever get on. He is our cautious child. On the other hand, my DS8 will do anything...very adventurous.
We explained to my youngest that we would all go through the line together since many of the que lines are themed. Then, he could decide if he wanted to ride or not. If he chose not to ride, then he & I would wait for dad & brother.
It worked out great because everything was on his terms. He was not forced to do anything he did not want to do.
He was terrified of roller coasters prior to this trip. He ended up riding Space Mountain (7 times at MNSSHP), Mission Space, EE, and ToT.
One thing to remember, 4 year olds have really strong imaginations. We might not think something is really scary, but in their eyes it might be totally frightening.
Do what you think is best for you and your child to have a good time.